Paris, Asharq Al-Awsat—As Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud returned to Saudi Arabia following his four-day state visit to Paris, a French diplomat described it as a “a successful visit by any and all standards.”
The Saudi Crown Prince discussed a number of important issues with top French officials, including strengthening bilateral ties between Paris and Riyadh and how to combat terrorism in general and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in particular. Crown Prince Salman met with French President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls during his visit.
Saudi Arabia and France issued a joint communique at the conclusion of the Crown Prince’s visit on Thursday reaffirming the strategic ties between the two countries and calling for joint action to address the global threat of terrorism.
The communique confirmed the “bonds of friendship and close cooperation that binds the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the French Republic,” adding that “the prospects of bilateral cooperation and ways of enhancing them to serve the interests of both countries and their peoples in all areas were reviewed and discussed” during the visit.
“The two sides expressed satisfaction of the strong relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and France and their development in all political, security, economic, financial, commercial, industrial, educational and cultural fields. They also lauded defense cooperation between the two countries, stressing the importance of further strengthening strategic partnership between the two countries in order to serve common interests,” the statement said.
The communique added: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of France lauded the quality of cooperation between the two countries in the field of defense, stressing the importance of continuing and intensifying this cooperation, particularly between the armed forces of the two countries.”
The joint statement confirmed France’s support for the Saudi Navy Project and Royal Saudi Air Force with the two countries agreeing to continue “fruitful cooperation in the field of air defense.”
“Due to the importance of their role in the restoration of the security, stability and peace in the world and in the Middle East and their keenness to achieve this, the two sides expressed their grave concern about the ongoing events in the region, including the growing danger of the phenomenon of terrorism and extremism,” the joint communique said.
Paris hailed the call made recently by The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to world leaders to “accelerate the fight against terrorism” as well as to support the UN International Center for Counter-Terrorism.
“Saudi Arabia and France jointly stressed that terrorism is a global phenomenon threatening all societies and is not linked to any race or belief, agreeing to strengthen their security cooperation in this regard,” the communique added.